Daily News

State Announces Appointments to Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Board of Trustees

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker announced the appointment of Maj. Gen. Gary Keefe and Lt. Col. Mark Bigda to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home board of trustees. Brig. Gen. Sean Collins was appointed to the board last July. Together, these individuals represent extensive experience in the military and healthcare and have a direct connection to Western and Central Mass.

Keefe will serve a seven-year term, replacing former trustee Christopher Dupont, whose term ended in July. Bigda will serve until July 2022, serving the remainder of former trustee Cesar Lopez’s term following his resignation in September. Collins will serve until July 2024, serving the remainder of former trustee Richard Girard’s term following his resignation in June.

“I am pleased to appoint these three distinguished military and community leaders to the board of trustees for the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke,” Baker said. “As the home continues to protect and care for the veteran residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the appointment of these three trustees to the board will bring expertise that will benefit residents of the home, help steer its leadership, and fortify its clinical expertise.”

Keefe is currently assigned as adjutant general for the Massachusetts National Guard. In 1992, he joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard with the 104th Fighter Wing, and has held numerous assignments with the Massachusetts National Guard, having been appointed as adjutant general in May 2016.

Bigda serves in the Massachusetts Air National Guard as a flight surgeon for the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, and has practiced as a physician for 30 years at his private practice, Manhan Internal Medicine, and also served as facility physician for 28 years at Hampshire County House of Correction. Bigda founded a nonprofit organization called Mustard Seed Missions and, since 2004, has led twice-yearly mission trips to remote villages in Haiti.

Collins, a board-certified nurse practitioner, currently serves as the Air National Guard assistant to the deputy surgeon general, assisting in the overall operation of the Air Force Medical Service, a 44,000-person, integrated healthcare-delivery system across the U.S. and overseas. He is also currently an assistant professor at UMass Medical School.

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